Is the SharePoint Community Still Viable?
The community seemed to answer with a resounding Yes!
We had a fun time playing host to the SharePoint community last week who participated in a global discussion about the State of the SharePoint Community. Over the course of an hour and more than 1000 tweets, a group of 130+ people talked about and tuned in for the relevance of the SharePoint community today, its future viability, and what needs to change to equip members to make continuous, systematic improvements to their organization’s SharePoint-based social and collaboration projects. We also discussed SharePoint in the Cloud and how the community is creating awareness and explaining business value for organizations.
For those who were unable to attend, and for those who are still trying to digest everything that was said, we have captured some of #SPJam’s popular sentiments and other ideas that caught our attention. (You can access the full archive here).
Before we jump into the details, let's review the statistics of the event:
|Top 6 Most Active Tweeters||Tweets||Top 6 Most Retweeted Users||RTs|
The discussion started off with a broad, but necessary question -- Is the SharePoint community still relevant?
To many, the answer was obvious.
@SandyU: #spjam Q1 heaven’s yes – that’s the quickest way for neophytes to learn about SharePoint – also it’s how I got my new job J
@ScotHillier: Q1 #SPJam Back in the day, products came with manuals. Now they come with communities.
@Soulsailor: Q1: Yes it is relevant, but it has to evolve significantly and quickly…#SPJam
@Wonderlaura: Q1: #spjam Of course not just an old stale group of the same old people, new people are constantly jumping into the community and keeping it fresh and interesting
@bsimser and others thought it was silly a silly question to ask and agreed that as long as there was a SharePoint there’d be a community to support it. He added, “Without a SharePoint community (or any technology for that matter) ideas and challenges are never pushed to the limits.”
Yet for others, while they agreed that community was relevant, they thought it could be more relevant if there was more focus on the business side of things, and not just on its technical implementation.
@Jacobm: Q1: definitely still relevant as the education and training piece of the platform is huge #spjam
@RowanJ RT @Jacobm Q1: however community needs to move beyond just focusing on technical/feature side and really emphasize the business side #spjam
Mark Kashman, Senior Product Manager on the Microsoft SharePoint team, added:
@mkashman: Q1) Community brings the realities of a customer's requirements to fruition, with confidence. Happy customer. Happy vendor. #SPJam
To keep membership relevant and focused on specific goals, we asked how do we build a stronger, more effective community?
Expansion was a notion widely supported by participants. Whether it is expanding the community to include those who don’t generally get involved, or expanding the roles beyond the established developer, profession and user tracks, many agreed that the community benefits by becoming more global and diverse.
Others suggested decentralizing resources, and acknowledgements by Microsoft reinforcing the importance of the SharePoint community to their customers. Other comments:
@cawood: RT @rharbridge: #SPJAM #Q2 - Company wise we need more internal orgs encourage community participation and reward it --> agreed!
@SharePointBlank: #SPJam Q2 Participation is key on OR offline, but its at in-person events (e.g., SPSats & SharePints) where community can really catch fire.
@rizinsights: Q2 #spjam - We also need to expand to incorporate views and people outside of the IT environment. Business level, not just technical.
@mkashman: Q2) #SPJam innovate in numbers and diversity. Embracing crowd sourcing leads to so many unplanned good things.
Speaking of the SharePoint community, with so many great insights about how it can be strengthened, the logical next step was to have participants identify What Microsoft/SharePoint developments will affect the community? (and what should Microsoft do to help?)
Some responses were more specific that others, highlighting initiatives like the upcoming SharePoint 15 release and the Windows 8 Table. But overall, participants were not shy in indicating that they’d like to see more business side representation and a focus on solutions.
@rizinsights: RT @markfidelman: @nickinglis Q3: I agree We need more business side representation - focus on solutions #spjam > My position as well.
@bsimser: Q3 SharePoint is more business solutions than technical ones. Microsoft could help us get that message out to users #SPJam
@mysharepoint: Q3 #SPJAM MS should involve the community in the launch of v 15
@denzman: Q3 #spjam MySites, Social Media integration, Managed Metadata
Using the SharePoint Maturity model as a guide, participants were asked how we can introduce systematic improvements to companies as they progress thru the model?
Welcomed by participants, the maturity model was a popular topic of discussion. Answers reflected a need for an increased emphasis on training for business users, governance and strategic planning, as well as a need for a business-focused maturity model.
@buckleyplanet: #SPJam #Q4 maturity model like any standard -- use it as a point of reference, adopt what makes sense. it is not end all, be all
@yaacovc: Q4) Today too much focus on SP infrastructure, More focus on USER ADOPTION is required to make enterprises more successful #SPJAM
@mkashman: Q4) #SPJam Maturity=a point in time that's ever changing. Investment w/guidance is iterative adaptation.
@SharePointWendy: Q4: Think more about staffing & training that will be required earlier in the process, rather than as an afterthought #spjam
@idubbs: Q4 #SPJAM Stop focusing on user ADOPTION and focus on user/business NEEDS first... then users just come (usually just waiting for it)
@pswider: Q4 I like the idea of focusing on vertical markets within model as well. This focus might also help expand community #spjam
@meetdux: #SPJam Q4: we have too much academic governance guidelines/articles/whitepapers - we need more case studies/lessons learned/stories
Finally, we wrapped up our discussion talking about SharePoint in the Cloud. We were curious about how the community is creating awareness and explaining business value for organizations.
The community again was working to spread the message hosting Office365 events, for example, but for some it wasn’t always clear what SharePoint has to offer cloud users.
@buckleyplanet: #SPJam #Q5 for one, we have launched the first Office365 Saturday in Redmond on 2/25 http://bit.ly/xYOBue #o365redmond
@idubbs: Q5 #SPJam first thing I think of with O365/SP Online -learning platform for users of SP at work-their own sandbox 2 learn core functionality
@yaacovc: Q5 #SPJAM The cloud will take away the SP power from IT to Line of Business. More Business, Less Infra
@bsimser: Q5 I have no idea the value of SharePoint in the cloud. Still trying to figure that one out myself. #SPJam
@jimmywim: Q5 #spjam SharePoint in the cloud is hard to pitch though. It's being sold to the techs and not to the business
@rharbridge: #SPJAM #Q5 #SPJAMQ5 - Extranet case studies are strong and great for many cloud situations. We need more 'non' Extranet focused examples.
@furuknap: #spjam Q5: Users don't care about tech, they care about their problems. Cloud vs. on-premise is largely irrelevant to those that pay.
mkashman: Q5) #SPJam SPCommunity is vital in emphasizing @SharePoint is SharePoint. Capability gaps closing as customer adoption/perception evolves
Curious, we followed up with a bonus question – When will organizations make the move to Office 365 and SharePoint Cloud?
Most apparent was that users will go to the cloud when cost savings and requirements make it worthwhile, while others will go when they are forced to. Still, others will go when “architects start solving solutions around the business and not the technology available.”
@pswider: Q5 We need to help make cloud a business decision not a technology decision. #spjam
@Reinbow: @buckleyplanet difficult to get people to invest (time req) to do the analysis for proper metadata model "Where's the ROI?" they ask #SPJam
Throughout the Jam, there was a community appeal for more focus on business users.
@VeroniquePalmer: I am loving the fact that there seems to be unanimous agreement that there needs to be more business focus in #SharePoint communities
@TashasEv: #SPJam More business focus means a higher need for community focus on end-user accessible solutions to probs. They will implement, not IT
While there were many intriguing insights and RT’s shared during the Tweet Jam, there was one in particular that piqued our attention. @idubbs, a self-described SharePoint evangelist tweeted: “We need DropBox like functionality for managing docs in SP online or on premises... just so easy and hard to ignore.”
It was a sentiment that resonated with others, indicating a strong need for SharePoint to simplify the complexity of performing what should be simple SharePoint tasks.
@VeroniquePalmer: RT @idubbs: #SPJam General: We need DropBox like functionality .... just so easy and hard to ignore <- agree, love Dropbox! Sorry MSFT :)
@joeloleson: @idubbs totally agree on the Dropbox SharePoint feature need. Sync to all devices #Spjam
@nickinglis: #spjam It'll be interesting to see what functionality gets added to SP in the next release, a lot of enterprise software has changed.
Naturally, we believe there ARE third party tools that fit the bill nicely!